A retired senior police officer has revealed his worries about the ever “thinning blue line” of officers currently covering Burnley and Pendle.
Mr Mike Griffin, who retired from the force as a Chief Superintendent in 1999, was speaking as he released his new book about his early days as a bobby in the 1960s.
The decade was a far cry from today as officers struggle against a backdrop of force funding cuts, a concern being brought sharply into focus currently with the General Election looming in June.
Mr Griffin, who still lives in Burnley, said that in 1969 the Burnley force had 186 officers, an area which remarkably did not include Padiham, Briercliffe or Cliviger.
He said: “When I think of the amount of officers we had for most of my career I would say the number now is peanuts.
“It is very worrying, it has an effect on many issues including problems like anti-social behaviour which can have a real detrimental effect on people’s daily lives.
“Lots of industries have suffered from cutbacks in recent years, but the police force exists for public safety.
“I think it’s extremely sad. I still have the greatest admiration for officers and support staff. Another big difference between then and today is the number of custody centres in the area.
“When I was in charge Colne, Burnley and Rawtenstall all had cells. Now, it is just Burnley. If that goes, I would really worry.”
A bobby through and through, Mike joined the Burnley Borough Police in 1959 as a cadet and was appointed a constable in 1960.
Any profits from sales of the book will be donated to the North West Police Benevolent Fund, which includes the five police forces in the North West and includes serving and retired officers together with their dependants, who are in hardship or distress.
He added: “The book features many of the characters I met, on both sides of the law, throughout my career. We got up to all sorts of mischief. I think people might be surprised with what we got up to.
“I remember one occasion hearing a shout for help when I was walking near Thompson Park. I saw a fellow in the canal holding on to a shrub for dear life. He said he’d tried to kill himself but had changed his mind. I ran to a police box on Hebrew Road and called for help.
“When I ran back I saw a peculiar figure lurching towards me. I then realised he had got out but had an artificial leg.”
Mike’s book can be bought on Amazon.